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Black Caucus urges FAMU trustees to 'stand firm' despite push from Gov. Scott to remove prez

19

December

The Legislative Black Caucus urged the Florida A&M Board of Trustees "to stand firm and without reservation" as it weighs this morning whether to suspend President James Ammons, per Gov. Rick Scott's suggestion, amid several investigations launched in the wake of a student's hazing death.

Echoing statements from U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown and FAMU alumni this weekend, the caucus warned that Scott's involvement could jeopardize the school's accreditation under the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, which requires that "the governing board is free from undue influence from political, religious or other external bodies and protects the institution from such influence."

"It is the position of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus (FLBC) that the Board of Trustees be allowed to fulfill its duties in the manner outlined in Florida statutes without influence from the Legislative or Executive branch of government. We trust that the Board will act decisively, firmly and in the best interest of Florida A&M University," said caucus chairwoman and Rep. Mia Jones, D-Jacksonville.

Here's the Monday statement:

Representative Mia Jones (D-Jacksonville), chair of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus (FLBC), encourages the members of the FAMU Board of Trustees to stand firm and without reservation to carry out the powers and duties vested in them by the laws of the State of Florida, without influence from political forces. 

"Since the untimely and unfortunate death of FAMU Drum Major Robert Champion, I have expressed the sympathy of our membership to the Champion Family, and without reservation, we stand against hazing and violence of any kind on any campus within the state of Florida and across the nation.

"We have great concern for the manner in which this matter is being handled. We are anxiously awaiting the final investigative reports from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), the University’s Special Independent Task Force and the State University System Chancellor. Each should be given the opportunity to complete their investigation before any permanent action is taken.   

"Governor Rick Scott is our state’s Chief Executive Officer, and while he is certainly entitled to an opinion, his actions or influences on the management and governing of the University could jeopardize FAMU’s accreditation under the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Under the SAC Comprehensive Standard 3.2.4, it states that `the governing board is free from undue influence from political, religious or other external bodies and protects the institution from such influence.'

"It is the position of the  Florida Legislative Black Caucus (FLBC) that the Board of Trustees be allowed to fulfill its duties in the manner outlined in Florida statutes without influence from the Legislative or Executive branch of government. We trust that the Board will act decisively, firmly and in the best interest of Florida A&M University."

[Last modified: Monday, December 19, 2011 10:12am]

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